Thought Leadership and Industry Trends
How data visualization tools can improve your eDiscovery
By Brad Janssen, Director of Advisory Services, CDS.
The old adage, “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” aptly describes data visualization and its benefits when it comes to eDiscovery. Data visualization is the process of displaying large amounts of information (data) in a graphical way that allows for a quicker and more meaningful analysis. It offers many advantages that add up to better results at less cost.
How it helps
Humans are limited in how much information can be interpreted at once in a typical list or tabular format. The more data there is, the longer it takes to review it. At a certain point, a manual review of data in a list or spreadsheet format is just not practical. Anyone who has scrolled through thousands of search results in an eDiscovery platform would probably agree. However, by representing the same information in a more innovative and visual way, users can gain more insights from the data. They can analyze and summarize their data more quickly and easily. Within the context of eDiscovery, that means it can save both time and money.
The advantages of the right data visualization tools include:
- Testing search terms. Data visualization tools can be used to easily test search terms and gauge relevancy and accuracy. Results can be displayed with a summary and context for each search term hit so users are not forced to click on every search result and scroll to the search hit. A well-constructed visual clustering chart can provide additional insight, be more helpful, and is more efficient than running many complex search strings.
- Grouping results. Traditional keyword search simply returns a list of documents and related metadata. Users must click through and review the results to understand what sort of documents are returned and whether the keyword is being used in the right context. Does searching for the word “market” return documents related to Dow Jones and ticket symbols (stock market), milk and grocery lists (a supermarket), or a company’s sales and advertising strategy (how to market a product)? With the right data visualization tools, keyword hits are already grouped and clustered based on subject matter.
- Rearranging data. With data visualization, any document list can be summarized and displayed graphically in a timeline view, bar chart, line graph or pie chart. This can be helpful and drastically speed up analysis and checks in the eDiscovery process. For example, users can visualize the sent date for all of a custodian’s emails in a timeline view to look for gaps or time periods during which emails might have been deleted.
- Speed. Data visualization tools work quickly and efficiently to search a large quantity of data providing a faster understanding of document sets, and quicker decisions about whether an Assisted Review workflow is best for the case.
- No complex reviewer intervention. Complicated reviewer intervention or input is not needed. Users just run a search and see the results visually in seconds.
When to use data visualization
There are a number of ways you can visualize your data and streamline the eDiscovery process:
- At the onset of your matter during Early Case Assessment (“ECA”). At this stage, data visualization can help you understand what is in your data set and summarize and organize your data set more quickly.
- Before a Meet and Confer or when evaluating search terms. Once you’ve started searching, you can use data visualization to fully understand what sort of documents are being pulled into your search hits and fine tune results.
- During document review. You can use visual clustering and perform mass actions such as bulk coding and batch by cluster, and then send results to specific review teams.
- When performing Predictive Coding or Technology Assisted Review (“TAR”). You can use visual topical clusters to help select good example documents and stratified examples for quicker and more accurate TAR results.
- During the QC of document sets being produced to other parties. Data visualization can be used to double check results during this process.
- When receiving incoming productions from other parties. Visual search results can help you get a quick high-level look and analyze the production.
CDS has developed data visualization tools within its eDiscovery platform that provide significant advantages that can save you both time and money.
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